Terri Chichester and a business partner are buying david’s restaurant with plans to bring a new dining experience to Roanoke Avenue by the end of August.
Chichester is partnering with Sofia Phelps, a longtime chef who has been with Kennon House in Gasburg for the last 11 years.
The pending purchase also includes the david’s mobile kitchen bus which the partners plan to redesign and use as a food truck.
david’s owner David Watson closed the restaurant recently to do private catering after running the business for 20 years.
“It makes me feel very good and positive,” Chichester said Monday. “It’s literally the stepping stone we needed. I still haven’t given up on the hardware store.”
But, she said, “This restaurant has been a solid business for 20 years. The other restaurants that have been there — Our Town Cafe and Rosemary Restaurant both did well for years.”
Chichester remembers when her grandmother ran a salon close to the former david’s. “When I went over there and sat at the counter or booth I felt independent and grown. It had an intimate atmosphere. I feel like I’ve been in a longtime relationship with this building.”
She had been told about david’s for more than three months. “I was so driven and determined on the other project I wouldn’t give it the attention it deserved.”
However, she had a family member mention the availability of david’s and Roanoke Rapids Main Street Development Director Christina Caudle told her about its availability. “I gave David a call. I couldn’t let my dream and vision stall.”
With Phelps, who has worked at Kennon House as well as other restaurants in North Carolina and Virginia, there is a great working relationship, Chichester said. “If I’m the sky, she’s the ground. She’s the logical part of it. I’m the idea person.”
The restaurant is a nod to the Greek heritage of Phelps and will be called O Aetos, which is Greek for the eagle.
Inspiration of the name comes from Phelps seeing an eagle on the ground and initially thinking it was injured. Upon closer observation, however, the eagle stood and “regarded her” before beating its wings and taking off on the second round of beating. “She felt that through every fiber of her being. Right then she knew she wanted to be part of it; she said it was an opportunity she couldn’t pass by.”
The partners have decided to christen the food truck Eagle Out.
Plans include a Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The restaurant will be closed Monday and Tuesday.
See brunch menu at this link
Lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.
See lunch menu at this link
There is a tapas menu, which can be viewed at this link
The Done with Dinner menu can be viewed at this link
Friday and Saturday evenings will be for fine dining.
Hours of operation are expected to be Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Fridays from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; and Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The bar will be open with traditional and non-traditional cocktails; ouzo; and a line of North Carolina and Virginia beers, wines and liquors.
The food truck will participate in area festivals, lake events and other functions. It will feature items such as gyros, steamed buns and grilled meat. “It gives us an avenue to move out to other locations and take food to the people in hopes they will come back to the restaurant. All we need for them to do is try it.”
Caudle said Main Street has been working with Chichester for more than a year “on her dream to open a restaurant in historic Roanoke Rapids and when David made the announcement he was closing we felt that would be a perfect opportunity with Terri and went over all the benefits this purchase would be for her, David and the community.”
Caudle said david’s was a major draw for the district, pulling in not only locals but people from the interstate. “It was a big loss for us but we think Terri can continue by bringing a new restaurant in.”
Said Caudle: “That’s one of the missions of Main Street — to utilize our natural and historic resources to facilitate the growth of economic activity in historic Roanoke Rapids. We’re always working to strengthen the viability of our business district.”
While Main Street is “still very sad to see David go — he’s been a staple of our historic district for 20 years — we are excited about the opportunity for Terri and happy we could help her fulfill an entrepreneur’s dream.”